Português para estrangeiros/Pronúncia
The symbols used for consonants are shown in the following table. Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the left is voiceless, the one to the right voiced.
|Stop||p b||t d||k g||kʷ gʷ|
|Fricative||f v||s z||ʃ ʒ||ʁ|
The consonant inventory of Portuguese is fairly conservative. The medieval affricates /ts/, /dz/, /tʃ/, /dʒ/ merged with the fricatives /s/, /z/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, respectively, but not with each other (unlike in most of the rest of the West Iberian group), and there have been no other significant changes to the consonant phonemes since then. However, some notable dialectal variants and allophones have appeared, among which:
- All post-alveolars are prevalently alveolo-palatal at least in Rio de Janeiro, with just a few variation for the sibilants and affricates, and are likely to have the said pronunciation elsewhere in Brazil, except for speakers of the nordestino and baiano dialects, as well sibilants and affricates in sulista and gaúcho speech. In Portugal and elsewhere in the Portuguese-speaking world, /ɲ/ and /ʎ/ are also alveolo-palatal, but the sibilants may vary in allophony.
- In most regions of Brazil and some rural Portuguese accents, /t/ and /d/ have the affricate allophones [tʃ ~ tɕ] and [dʒ ~ dʑ], respectively, before /i/, /ĩ/, and in some dialects, /ui/ and [ɪ ~ ɪ̃].
- At the end of a syllable, the phoneme /l/ is velarized to [ɫ] in most of European Portuguese and vocalized to [u̯] or [ʊ̯] in most of Brazilian Portuguese, though for both of these variants a few isolated dialects present the characteristics of the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, while conservative caipira speech have [ɻ] as allophone of coda /l/ instead. It is also slightly velarized before /i, ĩ/ (including when it is realized as [ɪ ~ ɪ̃] in unstressed syllables in southern Brazil) in most dialects everywhere, and can be slightly velarized in all positions in Portugal and in the state of Rio de Janeiro. It turns into [ʎ] before [j] in Brazil.
- In all of Brazil and parts of Africa, /ɲ/ is pronounced as a nasal palatal approximant [j̃] between vowels, which nasalizes the preceding vowel, so that, for instance, ninho /ˈniɲu/ (nest) is pronounced [ˈnĩj̃u]. There is evidence that it may be the language's original sound. Actual alveolo-palatal occlusive pronunciation in the said dialects is present in clusters of /n/ and [j], and may also be used to indicate emphasis.
- In African and Asian Portuguese, most of Portugal, and few parts of Brazil (e.g. Rio de Janeiro state and metropolitan Florianópolis), sibilants, if outside consonant clusters (e.g. fax [faks]), are always postalveolar at the ends of syllables, [ʃ ~ ɕ] before voiceless consonants, and [ʒ ~ ʑ] before voiced consonants (in Judaeo-Spanish, coda /s/ is often postalveolar too). The use of postalveolars is present but inconsistent in most of Northern and Northeastern Brazil e.g. estrelas "stars" [iʃˈtɾelɐs], but for the majority of Brazilian speakers and very few northern dialects of Portugal, only the alveolar sibilants /s/ and /z/ (apico-alveolars in Portugal) will occur in complementary distribution at the ends of syllables, depending on whether the consonant that follows is voiceless or voiced, as in English. Even speakers of dialects which use alveolar-only codas may not follow it consistently, especially in frontier regions and bigger cities where there is influence from more prestigious variants.
- In rural caipira speech, /ʎ/ is nearly always replaced with /j/, as such mulher (woman) becomes "muié", os olhos (the eyes) becomes "os oio" (but not óleos, oils, which is homophone with olhos in most of Brazil, and always pronounced with a lateral) and there goes, but it is also present in the colloquial speech of a number of sociolects, including some carioca and paulistano speech. Some Galician speakers also present this feature as an influence from yeísmo, a centuries-old phenomenon of Spanish in which /ʎ/ merges with /ʝ/ (the latter phoneme is absent in all Portuguese and Galician dialects), although it is discouraged by the Real Academia Galega.
- Although there are two rhotic phonemes, they contrast only between vowels. Word-initially and after /n l s/ only /ʁ/ occurs; after other consonants only /ɾ/ occurs. When a word ends in a rhotic and the other starts in a vowel, the phoneme used in the liaison-like sandhi is /ɾ/. No contrast occurs at the end of a syllable, but the actual sound in this position varies greatly depending on the dialect, especially in Brazil.
- There is also considerable dialectal variation in the actual pronunciation of the rhotic phoneme /ʁ/. The actual "French" uvular pronunciation [χ ʁ ʀ] is common in Portugal, although the older trill [r] is also heard. In Brazil, the total inventory of /ʁ/ allophones is rather long, or up to [r ç x ɣ χ ʁ ʀ ħ h ɦ], the latter eight, specially unvoiced [χ x h], being particularly common, while none of them except archaic [r], that contrast with the flap in all positions, are usual to occur alone in a given dialect. In many Brazilian dialects, /ʁ/ occurs before other consonants (much as /ʀ/ in Judaeo-Spanish), although in other dialects the sound of [ɾ] (as in Portugal, also used by many Brazilian speakers such as most cariocas to indicate emphasis e.g. sem vergonha "shameless, profligate, barefaced" [ˈsẽj̃ ve̞ɾˈgõː.ɲɐ]), or even rarer sounds such as [ɹ], [ɻ] or [ɻ̝̊] can be used instead. Word-finally in Brazil, the rhotic is often dropped entirely when speaking colloquially; when preserved, the same variation occurs as before a consonant.
- In Portugal, the voiced stops [b d ɡ] are pronounced as the corresponding voiced fricatives [β ð ɣ] between vowels. Voiced fricatives are a much more common feature in Lisbon and surrounding areas than among rural and older speakers of southern and insular Portugal at the other end.